Goldson fined $21,000 for 'third infraction'

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Goldson fined $21,000 for 'third infraction'

SANTA CLARA -- Safety Dashon Goldson received a letter Thursday from the NFL to inform him of a $21,000 fine for an illegal hit on New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez on Sunday night.

Goldson, who said he plans to appeal the fine, was surprised to read in the letter that it was his "third infraction."

"I don't know what third infraction they're talking about," Goldson said. "This is the first time I've ever been hit with a fine besides the one I had on the Rams."

Goldson was fined $7,875 for an unnecessary roughness penalty of sliding St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford on Dec. 2. Goldson was also fined $7,875 for taunting Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch on Oct. 18.

Goldson was also fined $25,000 last year after getting ejected for fighting with Arizona wide receiver Early Doucet.

He has also received numerous fines for uniform violations, he said, while producing a stack of letters from the league. Goldson said his fines have been for his socks and uniform pants failing to meet the NFL code.

"They've fined me about $70,000 already," said Goldson, who is playing on a one-year contract of $6.212 million as the 49ers' franchise player.

Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said he believed Goldson's hit Sunday night on Hernandez was legal. When asked if it was an illegal hit, Fangio said, "I don't think so. He wrapped the guy up, hit him in the chest area."

Fangio said officials have told him that they're asked to call the penalty if there are any doubts.

"If it looks bad, the league has told the officials to err on the side of caution," Fangio said. "So, obviously, if it ends up looking like a big hit, sometimes if they don't see it all and it's a bang-bang play, they're going to err on the side of safety and throw the flag."

Earlier this season, the NFL originally suspended Baltimore safety Ed Reed for one game for his third violation in three seasons of the rule prohibiting helmet-to-helmet hits against defenseless players. However, Ted Cottrell, the hearing officer in the appeal, reduced the discipline to a $50,000 fine with no suspension.

Goldson said he will not change his style of play based on the amount of fines he is accruing.

"I don't have time to sit there in the timespan I have as a football player when I'm on the football field to dictate what's clean and what's a not-so-clean hit," Goldson said. "I'm not a dirty player. And that's just that."

Goldson was penalized 15 yards for the hit on Hernandez. On the next play, Hernandez appeared timid as he tried to catch a short pass from quarterback Tom Brady. The pass glanced off Hernandez's hands and was intercepted by Aldon Smith.

"Hits like that get wide receivers the short (arms)," Goldson said. "It's been proven throughout this league for years, and it's been proven since me and Donte (Whitner) have been back there making hits."

When asked if Goldson wants to be known as the biggest hitter in the NFL, he answered, "No, I just want to be known as a good football player."

Bruce Allen: Kirk Cousins will play for Washington in 2017

Bruce Allen: Kirk Cousins will play for Washington in 2017

PHOENIX – Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins will continue to be Washington’s quarterback for the 2017 season, according to team president Bruce Allen.

“That’s why we franchised him, yes,” Allen said during an interview with CSN Mid-Atlantic at the NFL owners meetings.

Cousins and Washington did not reach agreement on a multi-year contract extension before the start of the free-agent signing period. Washington tagged Cousins as the organization’s exclusive franchise player, taking him off the free-agent market for any interested clubs, such as the 49ers.

Cousins is set to earn $23.94 million in 2017, unless the sides agree to a new deal before the July 15 deadline. The price for Cousins to be franchised again in 2018 would be $34.47 million.

"We’ve had a lot of dialogue," Allen said. "He signed his tender. Obviously, we have an option for the ’18 season. Our goal from the beginning has been long term. I'm still hopeful and confident we'll do it."

The 49ers with new coach Kyle Shanahan are expected to be interested in Cousins, but there have no trade talks with any teams, Allen said. Shanahan was Washington's offensive coordinator under his father, then-head coach Mike Shanahan, for Cousins' first two NFL seasons.

"I can't keep up with the rumors," Allen said. "Kirk and I have talked almost a dozen times this offseason, and we get to laugh when we hear these different rumors. We haven't talked to anyone."

49ers keep all options open with No. 2 overall pick

49ers keep all options open with No. 2 overall pick

PHOENIX -- If the Cleveland Browns’ only reasonable decision with the top overall pick consists of Myles Garrett or Myles Garrett, the 49ers have considerably more options at No. 2 overall.

After Garrett, the Texas A&M pass-rusher, there appears to be no consensus second-best prospect in the draft. So the 49ers must be open to considering almost anything.

“You got to talk about every option because you never know what will happen,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “You got to be ready for anything somebody will call you on, whether it’s a trade or not. So you got to go through those because they can happen quickly, especially when you get closer to draft day.

“Right now, it’s not necessarily in my mind the No. 2 pick. It’s taking the time to understand the whole pool of people. Who’s going to be available at two? Who’s going to be available halfway through the first round? What are the players you can get in the second and third round? That’s not something that just gets done. You have to watch a lot of tape. You got to listen to your scouts and all the homework they’ve done with the character on these guys and soak it all in for a couple of months.”

Shanahan was on hand Thursday for Stanford’s pro day, during which defensive lineman Solomon Thomas worked out. Thomas is considered a strong candidate to be the No. 2 player off the board.

But does Thomas fit with the 49ers? Under former general manager Trent Baalke, the 49ers invested their top draft picks in Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner in back-to-back years. Would the 49ers consider spending their top pick on another defensive lineman?

“It really doesn’t concern me what we’ve done in the past or what we’re going to do in the future,” Shanahan said. “It’s what we have now. If we think that player can help us and improve us, then that’s what we’ll do. You want to get the best guy possible. There are lots of options open.”

As the 49ers transition to a four-man defensive line, the team is in need or a pass-rusher. Ahmad Brooks tied with Buckner for the team-lead last season with six sacks. In 2015, Brooks and Aaron Lynch tied for tops on the 49ers with 6.5 sacks.

Brooks, 33, enters his 12th NFL season. Shanahan said he believes Thomas (6 foot 3, 273 pounds) is versatile enough to be a pass-rush threat at defensive end in the 49ers’ new scheme.

“I believe so,” Shanahan said. “I believe he can probably line up anywhere he wants. (But I’m) still not done with my research, yet.”

Thomas won the 2017 Morris Trophy, as the Pac-12’s top defensive lineman, as voted on by the conference’s offensive linemen.